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Christmas Hits: 80 Festive Favourites

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Genre: Compilation / Artist: Various Artists / Box set / Audio CD released 2008-11-17 at SonyBMG

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      25.12.2012 13:11
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      Great Christmas CD

      Most people either love or hate Christmas music. Generally speaking, I belong to the former category; if you do too, you may find this review useful, but if not, you will probably want to skip!

      Christmas Hits: 80 Festive Favourites is a bumper 4-CD collection of seasonal tracks, which I have owned for a few years now. Each December I bring it out (or rip it to my mp3 player) and enjoy the songs on offer. Some are better than others, of course, and that's where this review comes in. There are too many songs to go through them individually, so I'm going to pick out a few of my highlights (and lowlights!).

      *Highlights*
      The Christmas classic Fairytale of New York, by The Pogues & Kirsty McColl, is included, which is a definite bonus. Andy Williams' It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, made famous when it was used on a festive advert, is a pleasant addition along with Shakin' Stevens' Merry Christmas Everyone. The CD seems to have several less well-known Christmas songs, such as Early Christmas Morning by Cyndi Lauper and Wintersong by Sarah McLachlan. The collection isn't just full of happy festive music, it has some really thoughtful tracks.

      Mariah Carey's All I Want for Christmas is You is one of my favourite Christmas songs, being seasonal and cheerful. Fellow diva Christina Aguilera contributes her version of The Christmas Song, while Johnny Cash's version of The Little Drummer Boy is meaningful and memorable.

      Wham's Last Christmas adds a retro feel, and classic Christmas is evoked by Brenda Lee's Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree and Frank Sinatra's Santa Claus is Comin' to Town and Let It Snow. There are certainly some fantastic songs on here.

      The last disc is filled with Christmas carols sung by traditional cathedral choirs - perfect for when you want to evoke an old-fashioned traditional Christmas.

      *Lowlights*
      As with any compilation CD, there are misses as well as hits. I'm a big Steps fan, but their version of Merry Xmas Everybody doesn't compare to Wizzard's. I can't stand Cliff Richard and always skip his Millennium Prayer. Bo Selecta's Proper Crimbo isn't my idea of a good Christmas song, although I know many will disagree with me. I'm also struggling to work out what Robson and Jerome's I Believe has to do with Christmas!

      Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, sung by Judy Garland, is my favourite Christmas song, but the Luther Vandross version included here doesn't appeal: the song has been turned into a laid-back easy listening ballad rather than the wistful and heartfelt song it was originally. The CD is also lacking the Slade Christmas classic, which is a bit of a shame.

      *Conclusion*
      Altogether, despite some misses, this is a varied and versatile collection of Christmas classics that I heartily recommend.

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    • Product Details

      Disc #1 Tracklisting
      1 Most Wonderful Time Of The Year - Williams, Andy (1)
      2 Fairytale Of New York - Pogues & Kirsty MacColl
      3 2000 Miles - Pretenders (1)
      4 Merry Christmas Everyone - Shakin' Stevens
      5 Driving Home For Christmas - Rea, Chris
      6 Stop The Cavalry - Lewie, Jona
      7 I Believe - Robson & Jerome
      8 Early Christmas Morning - Lauper, Cyndi
      9 Love On Layaway - Estefan, Gloria
      10 Dream A Dream - Church, Charlotte
      11 Merry Xmas Everybody - Steps (1)
      12 Proper Crimbo - Bo Selecta
      13 Christmas Time (Don't Let The Bells End) - Darkness (2)
      14 Over The Rainbow - Cassidy, Eva
      15 Wintersong - McLachlan, Sarah
      16 Little Drummer Boy - Cash, Johnny
      17 Santa Claus Is Coming To Town - Sinatra, Frank
      18 Christmas Bop - T-Rex
      19 Mary's Boy Child/Oh My Lord - Boney M
      20 I Have A Dream - Westlife
      21 Stay Another Day - East 17

      Disc #2 Tracklisting
      1 All I Want For Christmas Is You - Carey, Mariah
      2 Christmas Song - Aguilera, Christina
      3 Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - Vandross, Luther
      4 Millennium Prayer - Richard, Cliff
      5 White Christmas - Bolton, Michael
      6 Christmas Day - Dido
      7 I Don't Wanna Spend One More Christmas Without You - 'N Sync
      8 My Only Wish (This Year) - Spears, Britney
      9 Holiday Celebrate - Braxton, Toni
      10 Christmas Time - Backstreet Boys
      11 Sleigh Ride - Air Supply
      12 All I Want For Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth) - Jones, Spike & His City Slickers
      13 Deck The Halls - Wilson, Jackie
      14 Silent Night - G4 (2)
      15 Jingle Bells - Cole, Natalie
      16 When You Wish Upon A Star - Ronstadt, Linda
      17 Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree - Lee, Brenda
      18 Blue Christmas - Shakin' Stevens
      19 Wombling Merry Christmas - Wombles
      20 Stay Another Day - East 17
      21 Millennium Prayer - Richard, Cliff

      Disc #3 Tracklisting
      1 Last Christmas - Wham
      2 I Have A Dream - Westlife
      3 O Holy Night - Il Divo
      4 Pie Jesu - Angelis
      5 Merry Christmas Baby - Presley, Elvis
      6 Let It Snow Let It Snow Let It Snow - Sinatra, Frank
      7 Santa Baby - Kitt, Eartha
      8 Joy To The World - Franklin, Aretha
      9 Do You Hear What I Hear - Knight, Gladys & The Pips
      10 Winter Wonderland - Bennett, Tony
      11 I'll Be Home For Christmas - Day, Doris
      12 Oh Happy Day - Hawkins, Edwin Singers
      13 O Christmas Tree - Lanza, Mario
      14 Auld Lang Syne - Gay Gordon
      15 Mary's Boy Child - Belafonte, Harry
      16 What Christmas Means To Me - Green, Al
      17 Walking In The Air - Auty, Peter
      18 When A Child Is Born - Mathis, Johnny (1)
      19 Power Of Love - Frankie Goes To Hollywood
      20 Power Of Love - Frankie Goes To Hollywood

      Disc #4 Tracklisting
      1 Angels We Have Heard On High - Westminster Cathedral Choir
      2 Holly And The Ivy - Westminster Cathedral Choir
      3 O Little Town Of Bethlehem - Norwich Cathedral Choir
      4 Away In A Manger - Westminster Cathedral Choir
      5 O Come All Ye Faithful - Norwich Cathedral Choir
      6 Hark The Herald Angels Sing - Wells Cathedral Choir
      7 We Three Kings - Ely Cathedral Choir
      8 First Nowell - Norwich Cathedral Choir
      9 I Saw Three Ships - Marlborough Cathedral Choir
      10 Deck The Halls - Norwich Cathedral Choir
      11 Ding Dong Merrily On High - Marlborough Cathedral Choir
      12 Cherry Tree Carol - Marlborough Cathedral Choir
      13 Come To The Manger - Westminster Cathedral Choir
      14 It Came Upon A Midnight Clear - Wells Cathedral Choir
      15 Personent Hodie - Westminster Cathedral Choir
      16 O Come O Come Emmanuel - Wells Cathedral Choir
      17 Hail Blessed Virgin Mary - Wells Cathedral Choir
      18 Seven Joys Of Mary - Marlborough Cathedral Choir
      19 Once In Royal David's City - Ely Cathedral Choir
      20 Sussex Carol - Wells Cathedral Choir
      21 As With Gladness Men Of Old - Wells Cathedral Choir
      22 While Shepherds Watched - Westminster Cathedral Choi